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Hell of a thing...


Guest Back2Good

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Guest Back2Good

I don't see my son (our oldest child) very often, he's stationed about 6 hours from us, and the outfit he's in is in the field more often than not, but when he answered the door at his rented home in Fayetteville in uniform, all 6' 4" of him, in uniform, with his combat patch from his last tour in Afghanistan on his right shoulder, his current unit patch on his left shoulder, airborne wings, air assault wings, and an expert infantry badge above them (he missed the hottest fighting in that goat-rope of a war, thank God, and was on an ISAF deployment, so no CIB - but he passed the EIB test on his first try), it was tough to hold back a tear even BEFORE he took me upstairs to get a look at my grandson sleeping.  That boy of mine is only two school qualification badges behind his old man (and I do mean old man - my beard is white, not grey), and the only thing keeping him from getting a packet in for one those schools (which he desperately wants) is that he's 30 years old and an E-5 now, and the army reserves those slots for younger soldiers (E-3's and E-4's, or 2LTs  right out of IOBC) except for special circumstances.  I've pulled every string I can (it's surprising how many strings I have left to pull, but they'll all be retiring in a year or two and I'll be left with none), but no dice.

It's a hell of a thing to have to explain to your son, who has excelled at everything he's done as a soldier why he can't get those last two schools he wants - He, of course, sees it as a "competition", he wants to complete every school the old man did, and he'd like a shot at serving in one of my old outfits, which he can't do without one of those schools, that it isn't a competition - Everything from the MOS you're assigned, to the units you're assigned to, to the schools you're allowed (or "persuaded") to attend is a crap shoot - When I was on active duty the army had a surplus of slots for every school they ran, as they were short on soldiers.  His army is in the process of drawing down, so he won't have the "opportunities" I did - We used to say, "the fickle green finger of fate, having f*****, moves on".  Things ebb and they flow, and the mark of  a man's worth isn't the pieces of cloth and metal arranged in his shadow box when he ETS's for the last time, the shadow box is nothing more than another thing to  hang on one's "I love me" wall in the man cave.  The true mark of a man is how well his 201 file reflects his performance, and that precious block in the final "A"  copy of a man's DD-214 that notes the discharge type as "honorable".

I don't think I quite got rid of his "down mouth", but I hope I got him to understand that every shadow box in this family, from my Granddaddy's to mine is different in one way or another, and that the reason mine has more "pretties" than the others is because the army was different in my time than it is in his.  I just hated leaving seeing a great soldier like that demoralized over a couple of certificates and a couple of extra pieces of cloth to sew to his uniform.

Sorry, didn't realize this would turn into a vent.

'

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You put it perfectly @Back2Good, I had a similar situation with my father, he served in a more volatile environment than I did for one thing, but I and he feel more than satisfied with our respective contributions, though his left him damaged psychologically. 

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Well, brother (British, American, Aussie, or Canadian, heck, I'll even throw in the French Foreign Legion, we veterans are all brothers), you should be.  More than satisfied, you should be proud as well - As we say in Texas, "It ain't braggin' if ya really done it" :)

I'm glad you and your father worked through it - I feel I have some work left to do to get my son's attitude adjusted, but we've time for that, I hope.

Thanks for the reply.

V/R

- b2g

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I'm still working on my son too B2B   A work in progress..even though he is grown.

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Yeah, that "Father" job is for life...you just don't realize it until they are grown and gone!

V/R

- b2g

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